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Unanswered questions linger on 'Tebow bill'
Many unanswered questions linger on the 'Tebow bill.'

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Date published: 3/18/2012

THE EDITORIAL titled "Blackboard Curtain" [March 2] questions the integrity of a number of organizations, such as the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia PTA, and the Virginia High School League, as well as the state senators who tabled what is widely known as the "Tebow bill," which would have given home-schooled and non-public school students the right to participate in public school interscholastic high school sports, clubs, and activities.

Rather than question the integrity of those involved in sidelining this bill, maybe we should look at the integrity of the bill overall. Before we look deeper into this bill, however, we should drop the argument that has been used so often during the debate--"home-schoolers' parents are paying taxes that help pay for these activities." Yes, they are. However, this reasoning just doesn't work. We all pay taxes for things that we don't directly benefit from. People with no children pay taxes that go toward public schools. People who take their bicycles to work pay taxes for highways. I pay taxes that help subsidize the VRE, but I have never ridden on the train.

Let's move on to the bill's positives. Studies have shown that participation in extracurricular activities is good for students' overall physical, mental, and social health. There were also several rules in the "Tebow bill" that make sense. The bill would require that the students demonstrate educational progress; they would have to be under the age of 19 and an uncompensated amateur; they would have to comply with disciplinary rules and undergo the same physical exams as public-school students; they would be responsible for the same fees; and they'd have to participate in activities at the school serving their attendance zone (a necessary regulation given what has become a very "seedy" side of amateur sports--recruiting).

There are, however, many issues and unanswered questions that complicate the Tebow bill. These are areas that were not addressed in the bill, but need clarification or further discussion should this bill be brought up in the future.

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